Upland Initiative Offers Strict Limits For Marijuana Dispensaries

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The citizen-backed initiative, Upland Regulate Marijuana Act of 2016 (URMA), announces qualification for the upcoming November ballot. This common-sense legislation draws on the dramatic success of other California cities to strictly limit medical marijuana dispensaries after previously futile attempts to ban the industry.

With only 76,000 residents, Upland has roughly 24 illegal, unregulated and untaxed marijuana operations. That is 1 for every 3,200 residents!

The citizen-backed initiative, Upland Regulate Marijuana Act of 2016 (URMA), announces qualification for the upcoming November ballot. This legislation draws on the success of other California cities to strictly limit medical marijuana dispensaries after unsuccessful attempts to ban the industry altogether. “In Upland, as with other cities, a ban had the opposite outcome,” notes former Upland City Manager Stephen Dunn. “It failed completely, swamping the community with illegal dispensaries and an unregulated black market. Compared to other cities like San Diego, Palm Springs and San Jose, Upland has as many as 30 times more marijuana retail operations per capita. And unlike these other cities and dozens like them, all of Upland’s businesses are illegal, unregulated and untaxed.”

Why Do Larger Cities Have Fewer Marijuana Shops?
Despite banning medical marijuana in the past, the cities of San Diego and San Jose each contained over 100 illegal marijuana shops near schools, parks and homes. These cities and many more have taken a new approach to regulate the market. In return, they enjoyed a dramatic decrease in the number of dispensaries. After passing regulations similar to URMA, San Diego now has only 14 dispensaries; a per capita ratio of 1 dispensary for every 100,000 residents. San Jose now has only 16; 1 business for every 63,750 residents.

Dunn noted that a simple internet search shows two dozen retail marijuana businesses operating in defiance of Upland’s existing ban. “With only 76,000 residents, Upland has at least 24 illegal, unregulated and untaxed marijuana operations. That is 1 for every 3,200 residents!” This measure is designed to restrict the location of dispensaries to parcels zoned for commercial, adult use and generate the funds needed to enforce regulations. URMA projects that revenue from a licensed, regulated market will pay for permitting and enforcement while also contributing to the overall city budget.

This measure also addresses citizen concerns for public safety and restricts the locations of dispensaries to an adult use, commercial zone, moving them away from Upland’s schools, parks and homes. URMA also takes advantage of recent comprehensive California state law that regulates criminal background checks, security measures, inspections and more. Meanwhile, other concerns like hours of operation are open to further regulation by Upland’s City Council.

City Officials Admit Frustration
The Upland City Council banned the sale of medical marijuana in 2003, but officials admit frustration. Current Upland City Councilmember Debbie Stone remarked at a June 27 council meeting that “we already have a ban, that the city council adopted, and that ban has not been very effective.” Dunn referenced a recent San Diego Tribune report explaining that, until San Diego built a system for regulation, the local industry was mostly lawless and chaotic. “Like San Diego and elsewhere, Upland’s ban failed to eliminate illegal, unregulated marijuana shops in the city,” Dunn remarked. “In response to common-sense proposals to duplicate the success of other cities, it is folly to promote another doomed ban. We need to repeat the success of dozens of cities across California like San Diego and San Jose, not repeat the failure of the past.”

About Upland Regulate Marijuana Act of 2016
The Upland Regulate Marijuana Act of 2016 (URMA) is a citizen-backed initiative that offers comprehensive, common-sense reform to medical marijuana laws in the city and a dramatic reduction in the number of regulated businesses. URMA will eliminate the current ineffective ban, eliminate illegal marijuana shops and offer licensing for legal, taxed and well-regulated businesses located far from schools, parks and homes. This initiative intends to generate new revenue to support public safety and enforcement. URMA will be on the ballot on November 8, 2016. Learn more at http://www.regulateupland.com.

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